Some bless it while others anathematize it but the caffeine seems to leave no one indifferent. The substance which is mainly popular with its ability to stimulate brain’s activity is a bitter alkaloid with the name trimetilksantin. It is found in 63 plant species and its most popular sources are the coffee, the tea, the chocolate.
In pure condition the caffeine is a white powder without aroma and with a strong bitter taste. It was first isolated by the coffee in 1820. And since then until nowadays it has been the subject of more than 18 000 serious scientific researches.
Millions of people around the world cannot imagine their day without one or a few cups of fragrant coffee. They adore the hot drink because of its wonderful taste and its ability to give freshness, to tone, to help the concentration, to increase the endurance in case of mental pressure and physical labor. All that is due to caffeine – maybe the most popular stimulant of natural origin that is known so far.
The caffeine’s beneficial effects are best at doses around 200 – 400 mg. a day. This is the equivalent of two to four cups of coffee. The amounts up to four cups of coffee a day for a long period of time are considered excessive consumption which can lead to disorders in the central nervous system, increased risk of coronary diseases, heart attacks etc. The combinations with other risk factors such as overweight, smoking, alcohol are even more dangerous. It is important to be considered that the caffeine is a strong diuretic and in combination with insufficient water intake can lead to dehydration of the body. To avoid this danger it is recommended that each cup of coffee is accompanied by a big glass of water.
How does the caffeine act in cases of local application?
In the contemporary cosmetology it is considered to be the most efficient agent which reduces the body fat. It is proved that the caffeine facilitates the digestion of the fats by stimulating the secretion of the enzyme lipase which shrinks the fat cells. The strong lipolytic action of this natural stimulant is complemented by its draining effect – its ability to extract the water from the fat cells. That also reduces their size and leads to loss of weigh and tightening. And something more - the caffeine heats the tissues which increases the blood flow and as a result stimulates further the breakdown of fats. That explains the caffeine is part of the composition of modern cosmetic products which deal with the loose skin, the overweigh and the cellulite.
The latest scientific studies lead to new, not less interesting conclusions. It is said that it could be used as a prophylactic against skin cancer. It is definitely established that the caffeine has an excellent effect on the resistance of the skin against the harmful effects of the sun. Its mechanism of action is in two directions – it keeps the cells healthy and prevents them from cancer and at the same time forces the malignant cells which have already appeared to destroy themselves.
Taking into account the threatening spread of cancer the scientists express the opinion that the valuable features of the caffeine should be used to prevent the terrible disease.